215 Rotary Skills in a Short Radius Turn

215 Developing rotary skills in a short radius turn

First, some working definitions.

Rotary movement requires some form of anchor, whether it be secure footing, or inertial in origin.  If the upper body is rotated with the lower body anchored, that action can be called rotation.  If the lower body is re-aligned with the upper body, using the mass of the upper body as an anchor, that action can be called counter-rotation.

Rotation per se is not an effective means of making a series of short-radius turns.  One turn, perhaps, but not a series.  One reason for this is the need to achieve secure anchorage both to initiate the rotation and then to effectively cancel it at the end of the turn.  Needless to say, the snow conditions might be different at the beginning and end of the turn, which might make secure footing an issue.  Another reason is the need to gauge just how much rotational inertia is necessary to get the job done.  Too little, and the turn won’t happen as desired.  Too much, and some effort (and time) will be required to compensate.

In order to effectively make short turns, the least amount of mass should be displaced, simply because anything that moves in one direction needs to move back in the other direction at some time in the very near future.

(A jet ski can change direction with far greater speed and accuracy than a super-tanker.  Just ask Captain Hazelwood of the EXXON Valdez).

As described in section 210, ‘cross-under’ will be used as a means of changing edges.  However, in this instance, the board will point further across the hill at the end of each turn.  If counter-rotation is effectively utilized, you will notice some tension in the torso at the end of each toe-side turn.  This tension can be used to slow or halt the turning of the board, and also to hasten the movement to the heel edge once that torsional energy is released.  The complement to this at the end of the heel-side turn is the ability to use the mass of the torso as something to ‘pull’on, using selective muscle activity in the midsection.  Again, the effect should be similar on both edges, though the process will differ somewhat.

To increase the effect of rotational inertia, ride short turns with arms out to the side.  The stabilizing effect should be apparent.

The use of counter-rotation can be extremely useful when riding moguls, trees, or slalom gates.